Fox News Host Baffled at Why Trump Didn't Condemn White Supremacists: 'That's Like: Are You Against Evil?'

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade criticized President Donald Trump for not condemning white supremacists during Tuesday's first presidential debate.

During the debate, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace confronted the president on white supremacists, asking him if he would tell such groups to end their violence. Wallace offered Trump the chance to condemn the groups and their violence, but the president instead suggested they were needed to confront left-wing activists.

Trump said such groups should "stand back and stand by." He also insisted that there's a bigger problem from left-wing activists. "But I'll tell you what somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left wing," he said.

Although Kilmeade criticized Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, calling him "rude," he also called out Trump for failing to condemn "evil."

"Donald Trump ruined the biggest layup in the history of debates by saying—not condemning white supremacists. I don't know if he didn't hear it, but he's gotta clarify that right away," Kilmeade said during Fox News morning show Fox & Friends on Wednesday. "That's like: Are you against evil?" he pointed out.

"Why the president didn't just knock it out of the park, I'm not sure," Kilmeade said.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump during the first presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden on September 29 in Cleveland. Win McNamee/Getty

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment, but it did not respond in time for publication.

Despite Trump's assertions, the FBI has confirmed that white nationalist groups are the biggest domestic terrorism threat currently facing the country. Violence by such groups has been on the rise during Trump's presidency, and many of these far-right organizations have voiced support for the president.

"Within the domestic terrorism bucket, the category as a whole, racially motivated violent extremism is, I think, the biggest bucket within that larger group. And within the racially motivated violent extremist bucket, people subscribing to some kind of white supremacist-type ideology is certainly the biggest chunk of that," FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, said during congressional testimony on September 17.

Trump's failure to condemn white supremacists is nothing new. Following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017—during which a counterdemonstrator was killed and white supremacists chanted, "Jews will not replace us"—the president insisted there were "very fine people" on "both sides."

The president and other members of his administration have repeatedly attempted to deflect attention from far-right violence by pointing to aggressive actions from far-left demonstrators. But analysts and experts have repeatedly explained that the comparison is flawed. While some far-left supporters of the Antifa movement have carried out acts of violence, the level of violence from the far right is dramatically higher.

Additionally, while many white nationalist groups are well organized—with some even having trained militias—the Antifa movement has no central structure or organization. It is instead a loose ideology adopted by many Americans who oppose the far right and what they view as fascism.

Many quickly condemned Trump for his response to Wallace's question about white supremacists during the debate.

"There's no other way to put it: The President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night," Biden tweeted on Wednesday morning. He shared a video including Trump's response to Wallace's question overlaid with videos of white supremacist protests and violence.

"Donald Trump is a white supremacist. People have been warning about this for a long time," Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat from New York, tweeted. "They were ridiculed, called hyperbolic & radical - not bc they were wrong, but bc others couldn't accept that our country elected a supremacist as President," she wrote. "This is fascism at our door."